Marijuana legalization has led to massive increases in youth exposure to the substance, according the 2017 Annual Toxic Trend Report compiled by the Washington Poison Center.
In 2017, there were 378 total marijuana exposures reported to the Washington State Poison Center. This number is an all-time high for reported marijuana exposures and is an increase of 87 incidents from the previous year.
Almost a third of the reported instances of marijuana exposure in the last year occur within the age group of children up to 5 years old. The rate of exposure among this age group has seen an explosive increase of almost 58% compared to the previous year.
Of the reported 378 instances of marijuana exposure in 2017, nearly half occurred as a result of eating marijuana edibles. Following legalization and commercialization, the marijuana industry has flooded the market with high-potency THC infused cookies, gummies, sodas, and other edibles that are highly appealing children.
Of note: the reporting of exposures to the Poison Center is completely voluntary and is most likely an underrepresentation to the true amounts of marijuana exposure occurring in the state of Washington.
“This report is extremely troubling,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president and founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “As Big Marijuana continues to churn out kid-friendly edibles, more and more young children are ending up in emergency rooms. The preponderance of data show that marijuana has a damaging effect on developing brains but reports such as this get swept under the rug as lawmakers rush to liberalize drug laws.”